Top test Buell XB12S Lightning
The Pit Buell
A Pit Bull and an XB12S have a lot in common. Also that they are basically pious. It just depends on what master does with them…
Anyone who has ever watched a pit bull will not get rid of the suspicion that this dog is a regular at a gym.
After two evolutionary stages, which would probably not have made it to the final round despite high stimuli in beauty choices, the Americans presented two completely redesigned, technically complex XB versions with around 900 cm3. Here the voluminous light metal frame serves as a fuel reservoir, the mighty swing arm as an oil container. In 2004 the Americans increased the displacement to 1200 cm3. The current 2005 versions, with a slight facelift, should noticeably expand the customer base of the small motorcycle manufacturer from the United States.
Company boss Erik pursues a noble goal in each of his development steps: Anyone who dismounts in a Buell after a ride should have a big smile on their face.
He usually has it beforehand. The massive two-cylinder is brought to life at the push of a button and injection. Idling alone is a drug. Nearly
Immediately, it is believed, the enormous flywheel mass of the long-stroke V2 swayed in connection with the two 88.9 millimeter thick pistons
in a party mood. It grooves a lot. Trembles. Trembles. Bollert. Images from the music channel MTV pop into the mind’s eye. A dance floor overflowing with sweating bodies, whose movements coordinate in an invisible wave of rhythm.
Inside the matt black painted engine, it looks more banal. Both connecting rods sit on a crank pin. Due to the cylinder angle of 45 degrees, the engine ignites at an asynchronous distance of 315/405 degrees. Four chain-driven camshafts located below transmit their control impulses to the two valves per cylinder through push rods, hydraulic valve lifters and rocker arms. To stay with MTV for a moment: The Buell drive massages the stomach area just as convincingly as the Red Hot Chili Peppers bass player at a live concert.
Hence the anticipation. Mount up. The handlebar, chrome-plated, wide, slightly cranked. Almost right in front of your nose: the tear-off edge of the small windshield.
Actually more there to present the full logo: XB12S Lightning. The legs click into place with the precision of puzzle pieces, pure contact. The light metal frame is neither too wide nor too narrow. Lies like a second handlebar between your thighs. However, the very bottom rubs against a slight edge? the paragraph that begins the
Passenger seat marked. A makeshift American shelter of the size
a speed handkerchief that, in addition to MOTORRAD, is guaranteed to be punished by the European Commission on Human Rights at some point.
So are Pit Buells loners? Determined outside the mating season. You are yourself enough on the 12er XBS. The motto is to enjoy unadulterated. Engaging first gear is like a kind of ceremony. This has nothing of the Pipifax of Japanese Tamagotchi facial expressions. Forearm muscles are required to pull the clutch. Offensive, determined foot movements are also necessary when shifting gears. While the cold start behavior is at least over ten degrees plus okay, the pilot registers a slight constant jolting during the first few kilometers. At operating temperature, however, when all muscles are tensed, the throttle grip twitches in the attack position and the lower partial load range is forgotten, nothing reminds you, absolutely nothing
more about walking a sluggish, large-volume Harley engine.
Almost digitally, so almost without delay to the throttle position, the balancing hum shoots forward. Every twitch of the right hand is rewarded with impressive propulsion. The V2 is incredibly spontaneous on the gas. Without choking, he turns from all regions until the limiter imposes its electronic embargo at 6700 rpm. Vibrations are retained
within limits. Erik Buell and his men
have largely decoupled the massive unit from vibrations using a patented suspension made of silent blocks and tension struts. And in contrast to other Harley V2s, the Buell drive works with much lighter components.
The crankshaft, pistons, piston rings, connecting rods, valves, valve springs and alternator rotor are sport-slim to ensure spontaneous revving. Depending on the engine speed and throttle valve position, a servomotor regulates the cross-section in the exhaust system via a valve. This exhaust control is intended to improve the torque curve, a special shape of the cylinder heads in conjunction with a low valve overlap optimize the gas throughput and ensure more power in the medium speed range. In figures: 80 Nm are already applied just above idling speed, from 2800 it is over 90, the maximum of 107 Nm breaks at 6100 rpm on the rear wheel. The power increases linearly and peaks with measured 98 hp at 6600 rpm.
Some performance fetishists will wrinkle their noses at these values. No matter. Riding a Buell is a whole new dimension to biking. The compact dimensions of the Lightning, in conjunction with the short wheelbase of only 1320 millimeters, give it a steep 69 degree
Steering head and the very direct, to the front-
the bike-oriented seating position gives you the feeling of sitting on the engine block? quasi the ride on the cannonball.
The 2005 vintage heralds a small turning point. So far, Buells rolled up
less ideal Dunlop D 207. As of now
rotate D 208 in the lighter special specifications M and W on the filigree light alloy rims. You really can’t complain about a lack of grip. And the strong tendency to stand up when braking and the urge to follow every longitudinal groove-
run are somewhat toned down. The steering precision a bit better.
The big twelve has even become more handy? compared to the previous year with D 207. New, fully adjustable spring elements from Showa are also used. The mighty 43 mm upside-down fork works perfectly. Responds sensitively, filters out the roughest bumps and guides the bike almost perfectly on the ground. The shock absorber, on the other hand, is a bit stubborn and insensitive. Due to the inharmonious set-up, coupled with the ultra-short wheelbase, slight unrest gets into the chassis when driving over bumps. The steering precision suffers as a result. It wobbles a little.
You can see: A Pit-Buell remains idiosyncratic. Anyone new to Buell pounding the first bend with the 209-kilo bullet will be surprised to find that the handiness that the chassis geometry promises is not that far off. Only when approaching the first bend does a permanent grin arise when braking. Good pressure point, not too toxic, not too blunt.
Successful mixture. A six-piston fixed caliper bites into the huge 375 disc mounted on the rim. Due to the extremely short wheelbase, however, the rear tire of the Buell quickly loses contact with the ground.
Then the folding down in an inclined position. Not an easy exercise either. Because in order to keep the ideal line, two parameters have to be included in the bearing: The large flywheel mass of the long-stroke V2 engine and the momentum that is still present when braking. Hanging-off is of little use here. If you want to be fast, you have to work hard. Do not brake to the apex, but ideally have the right speed before entering the curve.
Now fold down the machine using the handlebars and pull it through. But please don’t be too timid. The timing belt end-
drive works almost load changes-
selfrefree, but in the lower partial load range it sometimes jerks due to the lean mixture. But that fits the Buell. It works like a living being with its own will. A muscular pit bull never becomes a lap dog. And always needs a consistent hand.
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Top test Buell XB12S Lightning
The Pit Buell
Scoring: Drive – Buell XB12S Lightning
Due to the almost play-free,
damping toothed belt drive
the load change behavior is almost optimal. However, the slight constant jerking in the lower partial load range has a disturbing effect. This is where the pollutant-reducing, extremely lean vote pays tribute.
The clutch separates cleanly and is easy to dose,
however, requires a lot of hand strength.
Scoring: Chassis – Buell XB12S Lightning
Despite its extremely short wheelbase and steep steering head, the motorcycle is relative due to its inertia
unwieldy. Straight-line stability has improved slightly with the new D 208. However, the XB12S is sensitive to longitudinal grooves.
Scoring: Safety – Buell XB12S Lightning
The clear pressure point of the brake is the basis for good metering-
availability. But the hand strength could be even less. The shortcoming of the brake: fading in
Passenger operation. Come in addition
Insufficient braking stability due to the one-sided brake disc
and a lifting rear wheel.
The lean angle is
great, handlebar slaps only in the
Scoring: everyday life
The otherwise poorly equipped Lightning scores six points for its fully adjustable chassis. Adjustable hand levers would be great because of the stiff clutch.
The knee angle too narrow, the seat too narrow for the passenger and without any comfort. And far from getting more than just a jump seat. That way, you don’t win any traveling friends.
Scoring: costs / environment
Please: Have fun and save
but together. The consumption
is modest and the inspection cost is acceptable
Frame. Almost a technical miracle: Without a catalyst and
Secondary air system undercuts
the XB12S meets the Euro 2 limits. At 11,499 euros, the Lightning is not a bargain.
MOTORCYCLE Measurements – Buell XB12S Lightning
Top speed * 217 km / h
0 100 km / h 3.9 sec
0 ?? 140 km / h 6.5 sec
0 200 km / h 15.2 sec
60 ?? 100 km / h 4.0 sec
100 ?? 140 km / h 5.0 sec
140 180 km / h 6.6 sec
Effective (display 50/100) 50/99 km / h
Display red area 6700 rpm
Effective 6700 rpm
Consumption in the test
at 100 km / h 3.8 l / 100 km
at 130 km / h 5.4 l / 100 km
Country road 4.4 l / 100 km
Theor. Range 318 km
Fuel type Super Plus
mass and weight
L / W / H 1980/870/1200 mm
Seat height 810 mm
Handlebar height 980 mm
Turning circle 5870 mm
Weight with a full tank 209 kg
Payload 176 kg
Wheel load distribution v / h 48/52%
Driving dynamics 1
Braking distance from 100 km / h 42.4 meters
Average deceleration 9.1 m / s2
Comments: The brake must be adjusted
Can be opened again when the maximum brake pressure is reached. Risk of rollover due to the short wheelbase.
Handling course I (fast slalom)
Best lap time 20.5 sec
vmax at the measuring point 100.3 km / h
Comments: The pylons make the Buell very easy to move. At the turning point, it turns in slightly and then suddenly tips over into a great incline. The high speed results from the very direct steering and the powerful engine.
Handling course II (slow slalom)
Best lap time 28.4 sec
vmax at the measuring point 53.2 km / h
Remarks: Once in an inclined position, the Buell drives precisely and slightly understeer. When putting on the footrests, the tire grip limit is also reached.
Orbit Ø 46 meters
Best lap time 10.5 sec
vmax at the measuring point 54.2 km / h
Comments: The undercarriage clearly starts to move via parting joints. The speed has to be corrected again and again.
Specifications – Buell XB12S Lightning
Air-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 45-degree V-engine, crankshaft transverse, four chain-driven ones below
Camshafts, two valves per cylinder, hydraulic valve lifters, bumpers, rocker arms, no emission control, electric starter, 520 W alternator, 12 V / 12 Ah battery, mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, toothed belt.
Bore x stroke 88.9 x 96.8 mm
Cubic capacity 1202 cm3
Compression ratio 10.0: 1
74.6 kW (101 hp) at 6600 rpm
110 Nm (11.2 kpm) at 6000 rpm
Pollutant values (homologation) in g / km
CO 4.693 / HC 0.940 / NOx 0.170
Bridge frame made of aluminum profiles, screwed-
tes frame rear, upside-down fork, Ø 43 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum profiles, direct central spring strut
articulated, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, internal disc brake at the front, floating brake disc, Ø 375 mm, six-piston fixed caliper, rear disc brake, Ø 240 mm, single-piston floating caliper.
Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 5.50 x 17
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 180/55 ZR 17
Dunlop D 208 tires tested
mass and weight
Wheelbase 1320 mm, steering head angle 69 degrees, caster 83 mm, spring travel f / r 119/127 mm, permissible total weight 385 kg, tank capacity 14 liters.
Service intervals every 8000 km
Oil and filter change every 8000 km
Motor oil H-D 360, 20 W 50
Telescopic fork oil H.D. Type E
Spark plugs Champion 10R12A
Idle speed 1100 ± 50 / min
Tire pressure solo (with pillion passenger)
front / rear 2.5 / 2.6 (2.5 / 2.6) bar
Two year guarantee
Colors blue, red
Price 11499 euros
Additional costs 310 euros
Was there anything else? – Buell XB12S Lightning
Maintenance-free toothed belt
Very good accessibility of the spring elements
Shouldn’t be filled to the brim?
There is a risk of overflow
Poor tool kit
The frame is extremely endangered if it falls
Very poor splash protection of the
The fan runs almost permanently
Strong vibrations below 3000 rpm, hardly any view in the rear-view mirrors
two rings visible in the fork bridge
Spring base four rings visible, rebound
1.5 turns open, pressure level 1.5
Spring base stage two, rebound
two turns open, pressure stage
3/4 turn open
Verdict – Buell XB12S Lightning
The XB12S is a real big boy toy that satisfies every play instinct. An extraordinary character that comes up with a pronounced masculine side and many technical delicacies. About elementary driving-
In addition to the experience, it defines biking in a wonderfully diverse way: games, sports, shows. Buell drivers only know the word boredom from hearsay.
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